Transit on Federal Lands
Federal lands account for approximately 27 percent of the land area of the United States, principally in the western part of the country. These lands are composed of the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which are part of the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), which is part of the Department of Agriculture. Transit services are already in place in more heavily visited Federal land areas. As it becomes more difficult to expand roads and parking lots at a reasonable cost and without harming the environment in these areas, transit investment could help accommodate increases in recreational visits to these areas.
In 2004, a joint FTA and FHWA study was completed, which estimated transit and transit enhancement investment needs—or alternative transportation systems (ATS)—on USFS lands. This study was under-taken to expand the results of a 2001 study of ATS needs on DOI lands. The 2004 study identified 30 USFS sites that would benefit from new or supplemental ATS investments. Six of these sites are located in Alaska and the rest in the lower 48 States. The report estimates that, between 2003 and 2022, these ATS needs will total approximately $698 million in 2003 dollars ($687 million or $34.35 million per year in 2002 dollars). Seventy-five percent of this investment is estimated to be required for surface transit, 17 percent for water transit, and 8 percent for transit enhancements. Twenty-six percent of this investment will be needed for existing systems and 74 percent for new systems.
Total ATS needs for the 20-year period (2001 to 2020) for DOI lands from the 2001 FTA and FHWA study were estimated to be $1.71 billion in 1999 dollars ($1.82 billion in 2002 dollars). Ninety-one percent of these needs were estimated to be for the NPS, 7 percent for the USFWS, and 2 percent for the BLM. (See Chapter 27 of the 2002 C&P report.)